Jimmy Iovine reveals what's wrong with streaming music, talks Steve Jobs

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 35
    dysamoria said:
    Am I the only one that read his quotes in a Joe Pesci voice?

    Let me see if I understand this:

     The streaming companies, in order to make more (any?) money, want to sidestep the problem of paying licensing to the record companies for all the content they own, right...?

    They want their own content ownership, which they think will come from amongst all the unsigned independent artists, so they can have “original” content on their streaming services...?

    In effect, the streaming companies want to become “recording” companies, and basically repeat the whole cycle of the recording industry having a say as to what artists make and how it’s marketed...?

    Is that what Iovine is saying?

    I don’t know where he gets off saying that it’s a great time to be a musician. It’s a great time to be a person that wants to make music (because the tools are plentiful and even free), but this is the opposite of a good time to expect to earn an income off of being a musician.

    There’s just no money in it. Even live performers struggle to make an income, and they put out way more work just for the little they make (travel, lodging, marketing, practice, maintaining a live band, maintenance of equipment and vehicles, etc).

    There are countless artists who make great stuff, but they have zero exposure to an audience that wants their work. This is despite the claim of full and direct access to the world.

    Iovine sounds like yet another lucky entrepreneur who thinks the examples of success he’s been surrounded by are proof of how it can work for everyone and anyone (survivorship bias).

    The music software and hardware business really lives off of the money coming from hobbyists, not paid musicians or studios. The stats collected by developers have indicated as such. The number of hobbyists far surpasses the number of people making a living off of making music (and the corporations make the bulk of the money possible, all on licensing of content).

    There’s no access point for the average artist. No path to having an income because there’s more than enough content available and the average artist doesn’t have the marketing might of a corporation (which they waste on 100% owned manufactured content, instead of finding interesting artists out in the world).

    Half of my own music library is music that was OFFERED for free online by the musicians that made it, and mostly because they saw no way to make money with it. They wanted someone to at least hear it, so they gave it away.

    I struggle constantly with getting myself to work on my music simply because of the reality that it will never provide me with any financial income. There’s no audience. The music business (and our dying economy & culture) have seen to that. People don’t even really value music much at all.

    Music is not a rare commodity. With all the commercially manufactured music constantly being pushed out on the radio, malls, restaurants, TV, and every other place with speakers, music is not a compelling item to seek out. Music has become homogenous, and the culture does not value uniqueness. They’re taught not to, by popular culture manipulators (ie marketing).

    Blah blah blah, who cares. I’m just one of thousands of artists who will permanently be stuck without an audience for, or an income from their art, struggling to afford just barely subsisting in my life, let alone being able to afford BEING a musician.

    It is NOT a good time to be an artist.

    Last comment: Visual artists are in the same spot. 
    I mostly agree with you.

    It is much more easy to create music and “publish” than ever before.

    People don’t need to find a producer that like them, book a studio, hope a record company will publish it and a popular DJ will play their song on radio. 

    People now just need to sing in front of a computer with some background music and hope it will be popular in YouTube and social media, hence Justin Bieber. 

    The problem is, it is just way too many people doing the exact same thing. The market is just flooded with these “musicians” I am sure some of them are very good. But there is only so much result can be display in one search page. 

    Yes, many musicians can’t earn enough money to make a living but. But we can’t ignore the fact that many more musicians will be able to show their music to the world. 

    This is why I don’t think it is the problem of the streaming service. The problem is it is just too many people want to be famous.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 22 of 35
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Fred257 said:
    I have been a composer and musician on the margins for 25 years.  It’s never been a worse time to be a musician from a financial standpoint.  I used to make money off of my recordings and live shows.  I still have large audience members at my shows.  It has nothing to do with attendance or interest.  The culture and corporate culture promote all music is now free (or for a fee which they reap most of the profits from).
    That’s why musicians who are successful must be entertainers beyond their craft. Look at those people who have made it and emulate those aspects of their career that could work for you. In my case, I made my money in another field so that I could enjoy making music on my own terms. If it ever turns into a real business for me, that’s OK too. 
  • Reply 23 of 35
    xsmixsmi Posts: 138member
    I wish Apple offered an option for Hi-Res files. I know they did in the past, But, now that I have a system that can take advantage of the better sound quality, I'd like to have the option.
    mobird
  • Reply 24 of 35
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    viclauyyc said:
    dysamoria said:
    Am I the only one that read his quotes in a Joe Pesci voice?

    Let me see if I understand this:

     The streaming companies, in order to make more (any?) money, want to sidestep the problem of paying licensing to the record companies for all the content they own, right...?

    They want their own content ownership, which they think will come from amongst all the unsigned independent artists, so they can have “original” content on their streaming services...?

    In effect, the streaming companies want to become “recording” companies, and basically repeat the whole cycle of the recording industry having a say as to what artists make and how it’s marketed...?

    Is that what Iovine is saying?

    I don’t know where he gets off saying that it’s a great time to be a musician. It’s a great time to be a person that wants to make music (because the tools are plentiful and even free), but this is the opposite of a good time to expect to earn an income off of being a musician.

    There’s just no money in it. Even live performers struggle to make an income, and they put out way more work just for the little they make (travel, lodging, marketing, practice, maintaining a live band, maintenance of equipment and vehicles, etc).

    There are countless artists who make great stuff, but they have zero exposure to an audience that wants their work. This is despite the claim of full and direct access to the world.

    Iovine sounds like yet another lucky entrepreneur who thinks the examples of success he’s been surrounded by are proof of how it can work for everyone and anyone (survivorship bias).

    The music software and hardware business really lives off of the money coming from hobbyists, not paid musicians or studios. The stats collected by developers have indicated as such. The number of hobbyists far surpasses the number of people making a living off of making music (and the corporations make the bulk of the money possible, all on licensing of content).

    There’s no access point for the average artist. No path to having an income because there’s more than enough content available and the average artist doesn’t have the marketing might of a corporation (which they waste on 100% owned manufactured content, instead of finding interesting artists out in the world).

    Half of my own music library is music that was OFFERED for free online by the musicians that made it, and mostly because they saw no way to make money with it. They wanted someone to at least hear it, so they gave it away.

    I struggle constantly with getting myself to work on my music simply because of the reality that it will never provide me with any financial income. There’s no audience. The music business (and our dying economy & culture) have seen to that. People don’t even really value music much at all.

    Music is not a rare commodity. With all the commercially manufactured music constantly being pushed out on the radio, malls, restaurants, TV, and every other place with speakers, music is not a compelling item to seek out. Music has become homogenous, and the culture does not value uniqueness. They’re taught not to, by popular culture manipulators (ie marketing).

    Blah blah blah, who cares. I’m just one of thousands of artists who will permanently be stuck without an audience for, or an income from their art, struggling to afford just barely subsisting in my life, let alone being able to afford BEING a musician.

    It is NOT a good time to be an artist.

    Last comment: Visual artists are in the same spot. 
    I mostly agree with you.

    It is much more easy to create music and “publish” than ever before.

    People don’t need to find a producer that like them, book a studio, hope a record company will publish it and a popular DJ will play their song on radio. 

    People now just need to sing in front of a computer with some background music and hope it will be popular in YouTube and social media, hence Justin Bieber. 

    The problem is, it is just way too many people doing the exact same thing. The market is just flooded with these “musicians” I am sure some of them are very good. But there is only so much result can be display in one search page. 

    Yes, many musicians can’t earn enough money to make a living but. But we can’t ignore the fact that many more musicians will be able to show their music to the world. 

    This is why I don’t think it is the problem of the streaming service. The problem is it is just too many people want to be famous.

    I think it is more than just a lot of people wanting to put out their music -- we have always had a bunch of those from the high school bands up through the bar bands.

    but those producers, recording labels, engineers, etc. were doing a lot more than collecting a pay check:  they insured that good musicians were making good music and that they had the resources they needed to succeed.   Now though, as you point out, its down to a singer with a computer making background music.  The result is that most of the actual music is gone and what remains tends to be mediocre and unrefined.
  • Reply 25 of 35
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    dysamoria said:
    Am I the only one that read his quotes in a Joe Pesci voice?

    Let me see if I understand this:

    There are countless artists who make great stuff, but they have zero exposure to an audience that wants their work. This is despite the claim of full and direct access to the world.

    It is NOT a good time to be an artist.

    Last comment: Visual artists are in the same spot. 
    Serious question; how is this different from the past, when the only way in was to sign with the gate keepers err... record labels? 
    Record companies used to take chances and invest in artists, used to promote new acts with the hope of it paying off in time, and, occasionally, through that investment, otherwise unknown artists would get paid exposure and maybe even luck into a lifelong career.

    Investing in anything -spending money to make money- is extremely unpopular with corporations today. Taking risks is extremely unpopular. They want guarantees because it’s all about the share prices. They want to sell only things that their market research says will be successful, by way of shaping the market itself. Providing a greatly reduced scope of availability fulfills their market prophecies (when you only offer two flavors, they seem like popular flavors and people develop a resistance to anything outside that two-flavor system). It’s not entirely a conscious plot or a scheme; corporations get extremely myopic when they think they know everything. Their dominance in markets and their self-isolation behaviors impact the market, and then they see the results as proof that they were right. (Apple has this problem, too)

    Also, the attitude around music itself has dramatically changed. There are far fewer people willing to pay for music, and it’s not just Napster that created this problem; it was corporate greed. Record companies exploiting markets with “as high as the market will bear” pricing... until people said they would bear it anymore and stopped buying. Why pay an unreasonable price when you can steal it easily? Once that got going, it was increasingly more difficult to get customers in at even reasonable prices. People were broken, the economy was getting bad (and is still getting worse), leaving people with the sense that music wasn’t a thing worth spending their rare dollars on... and then the fad of the “services” model just formalized the notion that music is basically free, so long as you throw a few bucks into a hole every month.

    Our culture has changed, essentially because of corporate greed. They pushed until the market broke, and then they tried to find a way to exploit that broken system to continue driving down the same pathological road.

    If these new companies that want to become new record companies are going to actually take up the old model (identifying new and different artists, investing in them by paying them advances to live on while they write new albums, promoting them, and effectively distributing their material while also PAYING them enough to live on as musicians), maybe things can improve.

    But these companies still have today’s corporate culture: profit without investment. The damage to the market, and to the economy itself, has been done, and deeply. It presents huge roadblocks to getting people to put their rare dollars into buying music again. People can be attracted to a song here and there, but they are far more averse to spending more money to buy entire albums, after record companies pushed out droves of manufactured, market-research-designed product that, regardless of a few hit singles, left people feeling like they wasted their money on the rest of the album.

     I have a girlfriend (9 years my junior, almost not a millennial, but definitely shows the culture pushed at them) who says she loves music, and yet, she is a perfect example of the belief that musicians put “filler” on their albums, wasting her time and money. She even has a long-term friendship with a guy who used to work at Sony’s music publishing A&R department. She’s had an insider telling her about the business and yet her perception is still more that of the customer, pushed around by the manipulated market, than an accurate impression of what really happened.

    I’ve tried to explain why things are like this, but it’s a very complex issue, with a lot of interacting elements, none of which are particularly intuitive. I’m probably doing an awful job of explaining this stuff. I don’t spend a lot of time talking about it with people (especially not people in the business; or who were, as so many jobs were lost over the last ten years, including my GF’s A&R friend), so my experience expressing these things falls short of my awareness of it. I’m sure I’m forgetting all kinds of details here. :-/
  • Reply 26 of 35
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    dysamoria said:
    Am I the only one that read his quotes in a Joe Pesci voice?

    Let me see if I understand this:

     The streaming companies, in order to make more (any?) money, want to sidestep the problem of paying licensing to the record companies for all the content they own, right...?

    They want their own content ownership, which they think will come from amongst all the unsigned independent artists, so they can have “original” content on their streaming services...?

    In effect, the streaming companies want to become “recording” companies, and basically repeat the whole cycle of the recording industry having a say as to what artists make and how it’s marketed...?

    Is that what Iovine is saying?

    I don’t know where he gets off saying that it’s a great time to be a musician. It’s a great time to be a person that wants to make music (because the tools are plentiful and even free), but this is the opposite of a good time to expect to earn an income off of being a musician.

    There’s just no money in it. Even live performers struggle to make an income, and they put out way more work just for the little they make (travel, lodging, marketing, practice, maintaining a live band, maintenance of equipment and vehicles, etc).

    There are countless artists who make great stuff, but they have zero exposure to an audience that wants their work. This is despite the claim of full and direct access to the world.

    Iovine sounds like yet another lucky entrepreneur who thinks the examples of success he’s been surrounded by are proof of how it can work for everyone and anyone (survivorship bias).

    The music software and hardware business really lives off of the money coming from hobbyists, not paid musicians or studios. The stats collected by developers have indicated as such. The number of hobbyists far surpasses the number of people making a living off of making music (and the corporations make the bulk of the money possible, all on licensing of content).

    There’s no access point for the average artist. No path to having an income because there’s more than enough content available and the average artist doesn’t have the marketing might of a corporation (which they waste on 100% owned manufactured content, instead of finding interesting artists out in the world).

    Half of my own music library is music that was OFFERED for free online by the musicians that made it, and mostly because they saw no way to make money with it. They wanted someone to at least hear it, so they gave it away.

    I struggle constantly with getting myself to work on my music simply because of the reality that it will never provide me with any financial income. There’s no audience. The music business (and our dying economy & culture) have seen to that. People don’t even really value music much at all.

    Music is not a rare commodity. With all the commercially manufactured music constantly being pushed out on the radio, malls, restaurants, TV, and every other place with speakers, music is not a compelling item to seek out. Music has become homogenous, and the culture does not value uniqueness. They’re taught not to, by popular culture manipulators (ie marketing).

    Blah blah blah, who cares. I’m just one of thousands of artists who will permanently be stuck without an audience for, or an income from their art, struggling to afford just barely subsisting in my life, let alone being able to afford BEING a musician.

    It is NOT a good time to be an artist.

    Last comment: Visual artists are in the same spot. 
    You answered most of the issues you raised.  I’ll try to put it more succinctly, using other professions as an example.  

    In baseball or soccer, there’s not much room at the top.  How many Major League Baseball players are actively playing each season.  One thousand?  Those guys get the big bucks, and there’s not much money left for the millions who also love and play the game.

    But while it’s clear that baseball as a profession offers enormous income at the top, it’s also recognized that there’s a huge air gap between the relatively few who get to play at those levels and everyone else.  With millions upon millions passionate about the game, and those same millions willing to play for free due to their love of the game and their drive to compete, we don’t hear the same level of frustration about the majority not being able to make a living playing baseball. 

     It’s almost as though musicians, who presumably are musicians because they have a similar level of passion about music as people do about baseball, don’t understand that if you’re doing something that a huge portion of the population would do for free, you can’t reasonably expect to be able to make a living off it. 

    You should, in fact, not be surprised that there forms a market for that product that parallels the markets for other endeavors huge numbers of humans are passionate about and willing to engage in for no pay.  Like sports.  A small number of superstars showing off the game at its highest level, inspiring the rest to emulate.  Does the world need a million top-paid baseball players to showcase the game?  It apparently does not.  And that’s the role of top athletes, when you think about it.  To showcase their sport.  You need more than one, because they need competition at their level, but you don’t need more than a few dozen.  And so what has evolved?  Yup, a market that supports a few dozen top Olympic skiers, a few dozen top body builders (we’re talking the ones who get the big bucks) a few dozen major league baseball teams, football teams, soccer teams, nascar teams, formula one teams, etc.  It would be inefficient to have a world where there were tens of thousands of top baseball players.  You just don’t need that many to showcase the sport and inspire kids around the world to dream and find an empty lot to get some exercise in.  

    And so it is with music.  There are relatively few, at any given time, active at the top of each genre, showcasing that genre and making the big bucks.   

    All others better be sufficiently passionate to make their music for free or for less than required to make a living.  Because the world has spoken, has arranged the market as it has and just doesn’t afford the vast majority a means to make a living as musicians.  You may think otherwise, but I’ll offer you this simple mind experiment.  Imagine if all the money takes in by the record labels, which artists have long complained they don’t get a fair share of, magically had gone into the artist’s pockets.  So now all the money made in music goes to the artists who make it.  After marketing g expenses, etc, honestly accounted for.  How many artists would that support with a decent living?  Pick a number.  And what percent of those who dream about being a musician, spend money in instruments and equipment, travel to gigs, etc, would still be left without sufficient income to support themselves?  The vast majority is the answer.  More than half the kids I grew up with, significantly more than half, had the dream.  Music is so fundamental to being human, the market will always be flooded at any level of income with aspiring musicians.  And baseball players.  The lights and the cheering crowds are seductive.  But someone has to do all the other jobs that make the world function.  Not many complain there’s no money to be made as an electronics engineer.  Because the need for that greatly creeds the need for musicians at all levels, and so there’s both more money going into the engineering trades and it’s more evenly distributed.  That’s just how the world gets structured.  
    That’s an interesting perspective. I can see why it’s compelling for you as there does seem to be a logical connection between these two things your analogizing. I am not convinced that music and sports are that similar, however. There are a few facets to consider:

    1. People generally consider sports more accessible to people who are at least relatively physically capable. Music, however, is still perceived as a “special gift” people are born with (utter bollocks, but that’s the general belief around the arts). Almost anyone physically capable can play sports if they’re interested in putting out the physical effort. Music and the arts is a bit more complex than that, and the ideologies around it are very different.

    2. How much variety can there be in any one sport? There’s only one way to play most sports, hence all the rules and direct competition (something not naturally present in art) requires those rules. Art can be competitive (and the incredibly tiny market for it makes it so), but art is not a function OF competitiveness. Art has in its nature a huge scope of variety by comparison, and this variety is going entirely ignored by corporatism. Wanting a sure thing, and then shaping the market to ensure it, does not make for a natural market. See my earlier post about this. General point: Art has more diverse product to present to buyers than sports, but buyers are shielded from it and not guided to it, by design.

    3. Related to the above points, the arts are a much more subjective world than sports. There’s no absolutely right or wrong way to make art. This results in a huge difference in variety of possible content, or artists and styles. There’s no “top of the game” in the arts. Theres always someone with a different TYPE of product. There’s only top income and popularity. With corporations being obsessed with targeting ONLY the things they see as guaranteed profit with the least investment), they’re ignoring tons of potentially valuable art/artists. Popularity is a fairly arbitrary and organic process and corporations have been trying to control it in order to control their profits. Locking out those artists they don’t see as “sure things” is not a proof that there’s no market for those things. 

    4. The sports world is another example of a corporate-controlled market, and worker exploitation (especially college sports). The same lack of investment is present, and there are plenty of excuses on offer to explain why things are “naturally this way”.  It’s not a natural market, and it’s quite toxic. It’s hard to use it as a measurement of other things when it is so artificially controlled, especially when trying to use it to measure other, IMO fairly unlike, things.

    EDIT: 5. There’s also an element of anti-intellectualism going on with regard to the arts. This is actually something that hurts the arts a lot, while it benefits sports. I don’t have the time or patience to go deeper on this point right now. 

    I felt like I had other points to offer, but I’m hungry and tired and overheated. Sorry if this reads poorly. I’ll wrap up here:

    Overall, i think your analysis is a bit like the tail wagging the dog; a rationalization and excuse of why we should accept how things are, rather than an accurate assessment of the actual cause & effect system in play here with regard to the market for music and the arts in general.
    edited January 2020 mobird
  • Reply 27 of 35
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    What I notice is a further deterioration of music quality.

    Music used to be carefully curated and musicians sponsored and nurtured by professionals where It could take months and years of careful tuning to produce a single song -- The Mama's & Papa's spent hours in the recording studio trying to get hit a sound (and they were far from alone).  And then, even after all of that, it had to pass through the further filter of radio DJs to see if they got air time.

    The result was a highly constricted environment that yielded what some call a golden age of music.

    Today we have a single "singer" sitting in her living room with a background of electronic noise.   It's a cheap way to produce music and it shows.
    I think you’re confusing the effect for the cause.  Or confusing unlike effects. There are still plenty of artists putting out serious effort to improve their art. They simply have no access to promotion and income as an earned result. It’s true that the democratization of music TOOLS has allowed everyone to “make beats”, and that has resulted in an insane proliferation of “musicians” (called “producers”, quite erroneously, bit also, accidentally, ironically accurately).

    The degradation of music isn’t because of lazy effort by artists. It just seems that way due to it now being possible to try your hand at making music without much of any investment in education (formal or informal) or tools. This is a good thing for people; accessibility of tools is great. From a humanist perspective, it’s the best time ever for people who want to try. But it’s bad for the result of the world (the Internet) now being flooded with amateur content and no large organizing force curating it for people. It’s chaos. It benefits corporations to make their product seem like a rare commodity, so it’s also in their interest to be very selective about who they let in to the system... but they want guaranteed vast profits, and are unwilling to take chances and invest in things that their market research says won’t be as pure a profit margin for them (and that market research is actually now just one big self-fulfilling prophecy as a result of market control).

    Yadda yadda... it’s very complex. It’s not all about “lazy and unskilled people making garbage electronic noises”.
  • Reply 28 of 35
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    michelp said:
    From the musician's point of view, many things are wrong with the "streaming model". Here are some :

    • the money that goes to the composers, authors and players is ridiculously low

      • small labels and producers make little money, which endangers their survival and their ability to produce new recordings.  

    • the system especially affects less famous artists, in various less "popular" genres. The diversity of artists is in danger.  

    • the idea that these platforms offer everything is an illusion. Many albums are missing, a.o. many LPs, several labels...  

    • the musicians pages are very poor : only the labels can add albums. If they don't do their job, the artist cannot do anything about it. He has no control over the albums present on his page, he cannot complete it with missing albums, which results in very incomplete discographies.  

    • the information that comes with the albums is mostly non-existing, to the point that it is an insult to the participants : who is the composer, the arranger, the author, who are the performers of each track, who plays this nice solo, when and where was it recorded ? No respect...

      I just hope that we are in a transitory phase which will evolve into a more satisfactory model, but I'm having my doubts.
    I must have been writing my post at the same time as you were writing yours. I missed your excellent post entirely! All excellent and factual points!!!
  • Reply 29 of 35
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    What’s the “problem” with streaming? Basic economics. There are too many musicians making too much music, much of it OK, or at least listenable. What happens in any industry when there is an overabundance? Prices drop. And in this business, sometimes even “free” is too much.
    You’re presuming that the market is free and open. It is not. It probably never was. There’s a major homogeneity to today’s marketed music. That doesn’t reflect culture. It is the application of culture to people by way of controlling a market. There is room for so much more variety, but corporate culture refuses to invest or take risks. Today’s Wall Street obsessed corporate culture wants sure things, and they are fulfilling their own prophecies about what’s popular by only marketing one thing. 
  • Reply 30 of 35
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    viclauyyc said:
    dysamoria said:
    Am I the only one that read his quotes in a Joe Pesci voice?

    Let me see if I understand this:

     The streaming companies, in order to make more (any?) money, want to sidestep the problem of paying licensing to the record companies for all the content they own, right...?

    They want their own content ownership, which they think will come from amongst all the unsigned independent artists, so they can have “original” content on their streaming services...?

    In effect, the streaming companies want to become “recording” companies, and basically repeat the whole cycle of the recording industry having a say as to what artists make and how it’s marketed...?

    Is that what Iovine is saying?

    I don’t know where he gets off saying that it’s a great time to be a musician. It’s a great time to be a person that wants to make music (because the tools are plentiful and even free), but this is the opposite of a good time to expect to earn an income off of being a musician.

    There’s just no money in it. Even live performers struggle to make an income, and they put out way more work just for the little they make (travel, lodging, marketing, practice, maintaining a live band, maintenance of equipment and vehicles, etc).

    There are countless artists who make great stuff, but they have zero exposure to an audience that wants their work. This is despite the claim of full and direct access to the world.

    Iovine sounds like yet another lucky entrepreneur who thinks the examples of success he’s been surrounded by are proof of how it can work for everyone and anyone (survivorship bias).

    The music software and hardware business really lives off of the money coming from hobbyists, not paid musicians or studios. The stats collected by developers have indicated as such. The number of hobbyists far surpasses the number of people making a living off of making music (and the corporations make the bulk of the money possible, all on licensing of content).

    There’s no access point for the average artist. No path to having an income because there’s more than enough content available and the average artist doesn’t have the marketing might of a corporation (which they waste on 100% owned manufactured content, instead of finding interesting artists out in the world).

    Half of my own music library is music that was OFFERED for free online by the musicians that made it, and mostly because they saw no way to make money with it. They wanted someone to at least hear it, so they gave it away.

    I struggle constantly with getting myself to work on my music simply because of the reality that it will never provide me with any financial income. There’s no audience. The music business (and our dying economy & culture) have seen to that. People don’t even really value music much at all.

    Music is not a rare commodity. With all the commercially manufactured music constantly being pushed out on the radio, malls, restaurants, TV, and every other place with speakers, music is not a compelling item to seek out. Music has become homogenous, and the culture does not value uniqueness. They’re taught not to, by popular culture manipulators (ie marketing).

    Blah blah blah, who cares. I’m just one of thousands of artists who will permanently be stuck without an audience for, or an income from their art, struggling to afford just barely subsisting in my life, let alone being able to afford BEING a musician.

    It is NOT a good time to be an artist.

    Last comment: Visual artists are in the same spot. 
    I mostly agree with you.

    It is much more easy to create music and “publish” than ever before.

    People don’t need to find a producer that like them, book a studio, hope a record company will publish it and a popular DJ will play their song on radio. 

    People now just need to sing in front of a computer with some background music and hope it will be popular in YouTube and social media, hence Justin Bieber. 

    The problem is, it is just way too many people doing the exact same thing. The market is just flooded with these “musicians” I am sure some of them are very good. But there is only so much result can be display in one search page. 

    Yes, many musicians can’t earn enough money to make a living but. But we can’t ignore the fact that many more musicians will be able to show their music to the world. 

    This is why I don’t think it is the problem of the streaming service. The problem is it is just too many people want to be famous.
    Please see my other comments. I’ve addressed some of what you’ve said here in them.

    I wanted to respond to the “famous” bit directly:

    I don’t want to be famous. I just want to be able to make a comfortable living as compensation for making a product I can make, utilizing skills I’ve worked hard to learn. There’s no path to that life for me. Art has almost no financial worth in our culture, and the recording industry corporations are largely responsible for that becoming as bad as it is now.
  • Reply 31 of 35
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    dysamoria said:
    dysamoria said:
    Am I the only one that read his quotes in a Joe Pesci voice?

    Let me see if I understand this:

     The streaming companies, in order to make more (any?) money, want to sidestep the problem of paying licensing to the record companies for all the content they own, right...?

    They want their own content ownership, which they think will come from amongst all the unsigned independent artists, so they can have “original” content on their streaming services...?

    In effect, the streaming companies want to become “recording” companies, and basically repeat the whole cycle of the recording industry having a say as to what artists make and how it’s marketed...?

    Is that what Iovine is saying?

    I don’t know where he gets off saying that it’s a great time to be a musician. It’s a great time to be a person that wants to make music (because the tools are plentiful and even free), but this is the opposite of a good time to expect to earn an income off of being a musician.

    There’s just no money in it. Even live performers struggle to make an income, and they put out way more work just for the little they make (travel, lodging, marketing, practice, maintaining a live band, maintenance of equipment and vehicles, etc).

    There are countless artists who make great stuff, but they have zero exposure to an audience that wants their work. This is despite the claim of full and direct access to the world.

    Iovine sounds like yet another lucky entrepreneur who thinks the examples of success he’s been surrounded by are proof of how it can work for everyone and anyone (survivorship bias).

    The music software and hardware business really lives off of the money coming from hobbyists, not paid musicians or studios. The stats collected by developers have indicated as such. The number of hobbyists far surpasses the number of people making a living off of making music (and the corporations make the bulk of the money possible, all on licensing of content).

    There’s no access point for the average artist. No path to having an income because there’s more than enough content available and the average artist doesn’t have the marketing might of a corporation (which they waste on 100% owned manufactured content, instead of finding interesting artists out in the world).

    Half of my own music library is music that was OFFERED for free online by the musicians that made it, and mostly because they saw no way to make money with it. They wanted someone to at least hear it, so they gave it away.

    I struggle constantly with getting myself to work on my music simply because of the reality that it will never provide me with any financial income. There’s no audience. The music business (and our dying economy & culture) have seen to that. People don’t even really value music much at all.

    Music is not a rare commodity. With all the commercially manufactured music constantly being pushed out on the radio, malls, restaurants, TV, and every other place with speakers, music is not a compelling item to seek out. Music has become homogenous, and the culture does not value uniqueness. They’re taught not to, by popular culture manipulators (ie marketing).

    Blah blah blah, who cares. I’m just one of thousands of artists who will permanently be stuck without an audience for, or an income from their art, struggling to afford just barely subsisting in my life, let alone being able to afford BEING a musician.

    It is NOT a good time to be an artist.

    Last comment: Visual artists are in the same spot. 
    You answered most of the issues you raised.  I’ll try to put it more succinctly, using other professions as an example.  

    In baseball or soccer, there’s not much room at the top.  How many Major League Baseball players are actively playing each season.  One thousand?  Those guys get the big bucks, and there’s not much money left for the millions who also love and play the game.

    But while it’s clear that baseball as a profession offers enormous income at the top, it’s also recognized that there’s a huge air gap between the relatively few who get to play at those levels and everyone else.  With millions upon millions passionate about the game, and those same millions willing to play for free due to their love of the game and their drive to compete, we don’t hear the same level of frustration about the majority not being able to make a living playing baseball. 

     It’s almost as though musicians, who presumably are musicians because they have a similar level of passion about music as people do about baseball, don’t understand that if you’re doing something that a huge portion of the population would do for free, you can’t reasonably expect to be able to make a living off it. 

    You should, in fact, not be surprised that there forms a market for that product that parallels the markets for other endeavors huge numbers of humans are passionate about and willing to engage in for no pay.  Like sports.  A small number of superstars showing off the game at its highest level, inspiring the rest to emulate.  Does the world need a million top-paid baseball players to showcase the game?  It apparently does not.  And that’s the role of top athletes, when you think about it.  To showcase their sport.  You need more than one, because they need competition at their level, but you don’t need more than a few dozen.  And so what has evolved?  Yup, a market that supports a few dozen top Olympic skiers, a few dozen top body builders (we’re talking the ones who get the big bucks) a few dozen major league baseball teams, football teams, soccer teams, nascar teams, formula one teams, etc.  It would be inefficient to have a world where there were tens of thousands of top baseball players.  You just don’t need that many to showcase the sport and inspire kids around the world to dream and find an empty lot to get some exercise in.  

    And so it is with music.  There are relatively few, at any given time, active at the top of each genre, showcasing that genre and making the big bucks.   

    All others better be sufficiently passionate to make their music for free or for less than required to make a living.  Because the world has spoken, has arranged the market as it has and just doesn’t afford the vast majority a means to make a living as musicians.  You may think otherwise, but I’ll offer you this simple mind experiment.  Imagine if all the money takes in by the record labels, which artists have long complained they don’t get a fair share of, magically had gone into the artist’s pockets.  So now all the money made in music goes to the artists who make it.  After marketing g expenses, etc, honestly accounted for.  How many artists would that support with a decent living?  Pick a number.  And what percent of those who dream about being a musician, spend money in instruments and equipment, travel to gigs, etc, would still be left without sufficient income to support themselves?  The vast majority is the answer.  More than half the kids I grew up with, significantly more than half, had the dream.  Music is so fundamental to being human, the market will always be flooded at any level of income with aspiring musicians.  And baseball players.  The lights and the cheering crowds are seductive.  But someone has to do all the other jobs that make the world function.  Not many complain there’s no money to be made as an electronics engineer.  Because the need for that greatly creeds the need for musicians at all levels, and so there’s both more money going into the engineering trades and it’s more evenly distributed.  That’s just how the world gets structured.  
    That’s an interesting perspective. I can see why it’s compelling for you as there does seem to be a logical connection between these two things your analogizing. I am not convinced that music and sports are that similar, however. There are a few facets to consider:

    1. People generally consider sports more accessible to people who are at least relatively physically capable. Music, however, is still perceived as a “special gift” people are born with (utter bollocks, but that’s the general belief around the arts). Almost anyone physically capable can play sports if they’re interested in putting out the physical effort. Music and the arts is a bit more complex than that, and the ideologies around it are very different.

    2. How much variety can there be in any one sport? There’s only one way to play most sports, hence all the rules and direct competition (something not naturally present in art) requires those rules. Art can be competitive (and the incredibly tiny market for it makes it so), but art is not a function OF competitiveness. Art has in its nature a huge scope of variety by comparison, and this variety is going entirely ignored by corporatism. Wanting a sure thing, and then shaping the market to ensure it, does not make for a natural market. See my earlier post about this. General point: Art has more diverse product to present to buyers than sports, but buyers are shielded from it and not guided to it, by design.

    3. Related to the above points, the arts are a much more subjective world than sports. There’s no absolutely right or wrong way to make art. This results in a huge difference in variety of possible content, or artists and styles. There’s no “top of the game” in the arts. Theres always someone with a different TYPE of product. There’s only top income and popularity. With corporations being obsessed with targeting ONLY the things they see as guaranteed profit with the least investment), they’re ignoring tons of potentially valuable art/artists. Popularity is a fairly arbitrary and organic process and corporations have been trying to control it in order to control their profits. Locking out those artists they don’t see as “sure things” is not a proof that there’s no market for those things. 

    4. The sports world is another example of a corporate-controlled market, and worker exploitation (especially college sports). The same lack of investment is present, and there are plenty of excuses on offer to explain why things are “naturally this way”.  It’s not a natural market, and it’s quite toxic. It’s hard to use it as a measurement of other things when it is so artificially controlled, especially when trying to use it to measure other, IMO fairly unlike, things.

    EDIT: 5. There’s also an element of anti-intellectualism going on with regard to the arts. This is actually something that hurts the arts a lot, while it benefits sports. I don’t have the time or patience to go deeper on this point right now. 

    I felt like I had other points to offer, but I’m hungry and tired and overheated. Sorry if this reads poorly. I’ll wrap up here:

    Overall, i think your analysis is a bit like the tail wagging the dog; a rationalization and excuse of why we should accept how things are, rather than an accurate assessment of the actual cause & effect system in play here with regard to the market for music and the arts in general.

    Yes, that's all true...
    But, unfortunately mostly because we have made "sports" synonymous with competition.   Imagine what would have happened to music if, at an early age, we had kids competing for who was the best and only the best went on to the next level and were honored while the rest were deemed inferior.  

    I was trapped in that sports paradigm for most of my life, condemned to backyard contests only,  While, with music which I loved, even though I was no better at it than I was in sports was able to play through college.  It's just a different culture.

    But, late in life (65 to be exact) I found running -- where it doesn't matter how fast or far you run as long as you run.   And, not only do you reap the physical and mental benefits, but your running peers honor you for it.   The difference is:   running is an individual, non-competitive "sport".   I think we, in America, need to encourage more of that and get away from our myopic vision of sports meaning only competitive sports.

    (Admittedly, at the pro level, everything is competitive and only the best survive.  But that's the nature of "pro" more than the nature of music.)
    edited January 2020 rattlhed
  • Reply 32 of 35
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,255member
    Fred257 said:
    “What can music streaming companies do to differentiate?  I don’t really care.  I only use “free” ones... as background music.”

    Says it it all right there...
    How is that any different than the decades of radio use? People like music in the background. But they may only like it just enough to put it on as background music and not commit to buying all of it. I certainly wouldn’t. I like my niche of favorite music enough to pay for it, but 99% of everything else? No. I’d wager most people are like this. Not all music is valuable to everyone just for existing. 

    You said your live shows have good attendance, so hopefully you found your niche and charge for admission. 
  • Reply 33 of 35
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,255member

    Jimmy’s remarkable praise of Daniel Eck and his cross-platform preference says enough about his struggle at Apple. 
    Daniel Eck = the Steve Jobs of Spotify, who created something special from the ordinary.
    Apple = the also-ran, banging its head constantly year to succeed - despite its immense platform advantage.
    This subtle criticism is lethal for Tim - the uninspiring methodologist always turning his head from issues instead of trying to understand & tackling them.
    Isolating icons like Joni and Jimmy - until they quit and Tim can identify with other, more successful things
    What a lovely work of fiction you’ve created in your head. 
  • Reply 34 of 35
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    Other parts of the problem are the disposable nature of streaming.  In the ‘old days’ we would buy an LP, cassette or CD and play it all the way through. Some tracks would be better than others, but generally, the order of the tracks dictated what the artist wanted the listener to hear as a whole. Now, a lot of streaming is of single tracks. This defeats part of the artist’s endeavours and to some extent loses the soul of the production. Historically, a recording would be revisited a number of times over many years.  With streaming this doesn’t happen: a new recording arrives, a few tracks are listened to a few times and then deleted.  It hardly makes for an artist to create his or her greatest work. Streaming also produces far less income for the artist.

    Streaming doesn't produce less income for the artist. What it does is distribute more money to those with the most demand. You may be referring to a flat salary provided by a company to then take the massive bulk of sales for themselves, but at least the artist was signed and got an income. Show me an artist who gets 5 billion streams off of Apple Music are complaining about the money they've made. That artist on a few songs this past year was Gaga. She's extremely wealthy because of talent, tour quality and creative works that people like.

    If you aren't making a dime as an artist, consider the production side of music. Engineers make an absolute fortune mixing today.
  • Reply 35 of 35
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    What’s the “problem” with streaming? Basic economics. There are too many musicians making too much music, much of it OK, or at least listenable. What happens in any industry when there is an overabundance? Prices drop. And in this business, sometimes even “free” is too much.

    This is nothing new. Most musicians have been starving artists for many reasons. Taste and styles vary and with nearly 8 billion people if you aren't making a dent and a decent living then do it as a hobby and find a career elsewhere.
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